Doing your shopping online is hardly a new phenomenon. In fact, many millennials probably don’t remember a time when they couldn’t peruse the internet for anything from a pair of shoes to new furniture. While you can’t simply slide a few bills into your hard drive to magically cover the costs of an online purchase, you can easily enter your credit or debit card numbers to complete an online transaction in no time.
If you have been shopping online for years, it is probably old news to you then that millions of internet shoppers have had their credit cards information stolen over the years after attempting to make a purchase on a website that was less-than legitimate. But security advances in recent years have been developed to stem identity theft over the internet, although the incidence of the crime has hardly gone down. In fact, according to some statistics from the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft has actually only increased in the past years among internet users.
There’s no way to stay completely safe online
Although it is impossible to be completely safe when shopping online, there are precautions you can take that will help ensure that the risk of losing your identity while making internet transactions is minimal.
First, keep an eye on the security of any website you input personal identification information into. On most web browsers, there will be a lock symbol in the left or right hand corner of the address bar. If the symbol is green, that means that the website you have visited is secure, although that still doesn’t mean a thief won’t be able to access your account.
Don’t let a thief tap into your checking account
Avoid using your debit card on any site that you are making purchases on. If a thief is able to access your checking account, they could drain all of your funds, and you only have thirty days to report that the theft has taken place. A credit card, however, only grants a thief to your line of credit, and you will have, in most cases, up to three months to report the crime.
Enlist in a credit monitoring program before you do any online shopping, so that if your identity does get stolen, you’ll be alerted to certain unauthorized or peculiar behavior that could be a sign, and then you can take the proper steps to clear your name and recoup your losses.